Five Inconsequential Questions from Black Panther

To say Black Panther is a hit would be kind of an understatement. It’s already made a little more than $25 million since Thursday and it projected to make around $170 million once the weekend is through. The film hits a big milestone as it’s Marvel’s first superhero film to feature a black protagonist. There was a lot of hype for the film and, from what I’ve seen and heard from the Interwebs, the comments have been mostly positive.

I’ve seen the film and I was thinking of reviewing it. However, there are already so many positive reviews for Black Panther so I am having second thoughts since I would just be adding another review to the pile of reviews that say it’s good. I may review it to give my personal opinion in the future… but that’s not why I’m writing about it. After watching Black Panther, I walked out of the theater with a bunch of questions buzzing around my head. Not necessarily any issues that negatively impacted my enjoyment of the film. Rather, these were questions that kind of stuck out to me because I really wanted to know the answers to them. So, here are those questions!

Oh, and since I’ll be talking about specific plot points from the film, consider this your SPOILER WARNING!

1. Why didn’t Shuri get both Black Panther necklaces?

T’Challa’s new Black Panther suit was developed by Shuri, his younger sister, and it’s a marvel to behold. Not only is it bulletproof and the fibers are woven with vibranium, it can now absorb kinetic energy and send all that energy back whenever desired by the suit wearer. But the most impressive thing that Shuri did with the suit is she managed to make it “shrink” down into a necklace, making it look like a normal piece of jewelry until the need arises for Black Panther to spring into action.

Shuri made two “necklaces.” One is made of silver, which T’Challa takes with him to South Korea to hunt for Klaw Ulysses Klaue. The other one looks like it was made of gold. After T’Challa is thrown off the waterfall by Killmonger for the rite to rule Wakanda, Shuri managed to smuggle the silver necklace away and one of the heart-shaped herbs in the hopes that M’Baku, the leader of the Jabari tribe, can use it to usurp Killmonger. Weird question: why didn’t she grab the gold “necklace” as well?

I would assume that both necklaces/suits were stored in her lab and were probably stored side-by-side as seen in an earlier clip. Shouldn’t she have taken both of them instead of one? She’s supposed to be a genius so I’m sure she should’ve been smart enough to figure out that Killmonger would find the Black Panther suit/necklace and use it himself… which he did! Why did she even leave Wakanda with such a powerful portable weapon at his disposal if she could’ve stole it with no problems?

2. How did Killmonger know the axe was Wakandan and made of vibranium?

Killmonger is one of the better villains to grace the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He isn’t your typical two-dimensional baddie who’s bad because wants to take over the world. He’s more of a tragic character that wants the world to be a better place but goes about fixing the problem in a more violent way. Killmonger was unfortunately set on the wrong path after his father was killed by T’Challa’s father.

Even though he was born in the United States and never set foot in Wakanda, his father must have told him a whole lot about his homeland. I’m also assuming that there were journals detailing the country and its secrets, which is why he knows a whole lot about it. Even with that, I seriously doubt that he managed to identify an ancient axe that was misidentified by an expert that has been locked in a museum for ages. Which leads me to ask how did he managed to do that in the first place?

Look, I know that he’s good but I also know that Wakanda has spies all over the world. Since they want to make sure that the world has an incredibly limited supply of vibranium, they would’ve known about this. In fact, during the briefing to T’Challa after the robbery, the report does state that the weapon was of Wakandan origin and made of vibranium. I don’t think that kind of thing would’ve been in the police report because the police wouldn’t be able to know that after the fact! So, are you saying that Killmonger just has a sixth sense about these things now?

3. Why are the Jabari technologically advanced like Wakanda?

The opening to Black Panther tells the history of Wakanda. Eons ago, a meteor made of vibranium crashed in Africa and the tribes in that area fought wars to take control of it. The panther spirit Bast told a great warrior about the heart-shaped herb that gave people great physical prowess when eaten. This man became the first Black Panther and united all of the tribes, except for the Jabari. The Jabari left the land and isolated themselves in the mountain. Their current leader is M’Baku. This man tried to become king by challenging T’Challa for the throne but he did help him by the end of the film when the Jabari people found his comatose body.

M’Baku, shown here yelling at everyone to not call him Man-Ape.

The Jabari may look like they have a primitive culture. But, much like Wakanda, it looks like they’re a very civilized society. When Nakia, Shuri, Everett Ross and Angela Bassett Ramonda are sent to M’Baku’s throne room, you can see the silhouette of a highly advance city in the background. Even M’Baku’s throne room looked rather advanced. So, how did this exiled tribe get the technology needed to build an advanced city as well? Does this mean they also have access to the vibranium meteor even up to now?

4. Why didn’t Killmonger kill Ulysses Klaue early on if he only needed him to get to Wakanda?

Early on, you see the pairing of Killmonger and Klaw Klaue stealing a mislabeled Wakandan artifact in a museum. This eventually leads to Klaw Klaue’s arrest in South Korea when he attempts to sell the vibranium piece by T’Challa/Black Panther. This leads to Killmonger breaking Klaw Klaue out of the police station and almost killing Ross.

After that, Killmonger kills Klaw Klaue as Wakanda has a huge bounty on the arms dealer as he stole a quantity of vibranium long ago. Killmonger uses Klaw Klaue’s body as a way into Wakanda. Essentially, it was his plan all along. If that’s the case, why did Killmonger have to wait for such a long time to do the deed? Heck, why didn’t he kill him during the museum heist way back at the start of the film? Was he waiting for T’Chaka to die? Doesn’t seem like it as the previous king was already dead since T’Challa was being crowned king during the museum heist. In fact, why didn’t he just kill Klaw Klaue much earlier, use the body to get into Wakanda and chill for a while?

5. Why didn’t T’Chaka send someone to take care of Killmonger in 1992?

Yes, I even have a question about the start of the movie, which essentially serves as Killmonger’s origin.

It’s shown that, in 1992, T’Chaka was forced to kill his brother, Prince N’Jobu, when the latter attempted to kill Zuri. Okay, fair enough. But then T’Chaka orders that they leave immediately, knowing full well that N’Jobu has a son. This act of T’Chaka murdering his father and abandoning him all alone in the United States was Killmonger’s driving force to return to Wakanda and push through with his father’s goal to distribute Wakandan technology/weapons to the more oppressed people of color all around the world. And Killmonger almost succeeded as he did become king of Wakanda, albeit for a short time.

Nice to see people dueling with bladed weapons?

I understand that T’Chaka wanted to cover up the shame of him having to kill his own brother and all but why would he just abandon Killmonger, his own nephew? It’s not like he doesn’t have the resources to take care of him and keep the child safe! He doesn’t even have to bring him back home to Wakanda! He could’ve just sent over a spy (I’m guessing he has some spies that are off the books and all) to adopt Killmonger and take care of him so he wouldn’t grow up to become a murderous mercenary. I know this is to move the plot along and make Killmonger more empathetic to the audience because of his tragic backstory. But really, King T’Chaka? You didn’t even bother to look after your own nephew?

BONUS: Why did Bast even allow Killmonger to use vibranium to destroy the world? (Doomworld #3)

Okay, this is delving into the realm of comics but I’ll add this here anyway. One of the things Marvel’s latest film glossed over is Bast, the Panther God. The film does mentioned that it was Bast that directed the warrior to eat the heart-shaped herb to give him the power to become the first Black Panther. But she’s never mentioned ever again. In the comics, Bast is a lot more integral as she also is the one who determines who is worthy of becoming the Black Panther. Additionally, as shown in the Doomwar event in the comics, Bast is the protector of the vibranium stores. In the event, Bast states that she will only give access to the vibranium to those who have pure intentions. Doom did manage to get access to the vibranium because, in his own twisted way, he was doing all of those atrocious actions to save mankind from itself.

Yes, that’s what Doctor Doom looks naked.

But Killmonger’s motives aren’t exactly as “pure” as Doom’s. Doom may want to rule with an iron fist but he’s looking at the big picture. He’s not after righting the previous wrongs or anything like that; he just wants to make the world a better place for everyone. Killmonger’s motivations are more of revenge and doing harm to the people that oppressed his people. That’s not exactly a pure motivation, is it?

Have any questions after watching Black Panther? Let me know what they are in the comments section below!

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